Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beginnings and Ends

For some reason on Valentine's Day, I was thinking of beginning and ends. It just seemed like several of my friends were dealing with ends. But I was also seeing friends face new beginnings. One friend saw a relationship come to an end. Another friend had a first date. One friend was laid off from a job, but I was a reference for another friend who is probably close to getting a new job.

All this thinking about beginning and ends led me to start thinking about more significant beginnings and ends -- birth and death. First, I was thinking about birth -- pretty much the beginning of life. It was Valentine's Day, so I was thinking about what a joyous and love-filled day it was and how somewhere, someone was being born that day. Then I thought about the reciprocal of birth -- death. With my experiences of death, it is also a love-filled experience. Knowing that you won't be able to see someone's smile, you won't be able to have conversation with that person and you won't be able to hug that person anymore, and feeling the ache in your heart -- it's love that is making your heart ache. Albeit a much more painful love to feel than the love you feel when someone special is born and brought into your life. But through it all -- through the beginnings and end, through the ups and downs -- love is constant.

Little did I know that 15 minutes later I would be getting a phone call from my mom about death.

A boy from my church was in a snowboarding accident that morning. He hit a tree and died. Just like that. He was 21. He was always so full of life, always sharing his bright smile. He had amazing musical talents. He was authentic. He was wise beyond his years. He was healthy. He was definitely not someone who should have been dying that day. His death was shocking. It was tragic. (The local news did a story about him the other night. I thought it was nicely done, so here it is.)

It's one of those things that is really difficult to process.

My heart is aching for his family. After I heard the news, we drove up to my sister's house to take my nieces ice skating. I was feeling guilty for doing something fun when something so tragic had happened. But then I thought that he would not want me to not enjoy the company of my nieces. So instead, I did what I knew how to do. I gave my nieces extra hugs. I pulled my niece around the ice extra long because it's what she wanted (although she wasn't very happy with me when we went inside and I'd only hold one of her hands). I enjoyed the company of my husband as we finished making our Valentine's Day dinner together. I gave my puppies beef sticks. I loved.

J.B.

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